LinuxWorld Expo 2007 Day 1


Got to the booth at 9 AM. Got the laptops setup. Set out the DVDs. Kir had some flyers he had printed at Kinkos... and the banner was hung nicely.

All five of us were there in the booth today so we all got a chance to take turns talking to people. The booth had quite a bit of activity. We gave away all 25 DVDs we had burned within the first few hours so Kostya and Warren were busy burning DVDs on both of their laptops for most of the day to keep up with demand.

The basic question everyone asked was... how is OpenVZ different from VMware... or Xen? I got rather good at explaining OpenVZ's seven main points.

1) OpenVZ is "OS virtualization" or "process containers" rather than full machine virtualization - that means that there is only 1 kernel running on the physical host and each virtual machine (aka VPS [Virtual Private Server] or VE [Virtual Environment]) only uses up the resources needed to run the services you want... rather than all of the overhead of a full machine.

2) OpenVZ has checkpointing, offline and online (aka LIVE) migration to easily move a virtual machine from one physical host to another... but it does not require network-based shared storage.

3) OpenVZ excels in dynamic resource management... as there are about 20 different resource parameters (CPU usage, memory usage, disk space, number of processes, etc) that can be monitored and changed (increased or descreased) as needed to meet the resource needs of your virtual machine... all while your virtual machine is running without a need to restart.

4) Because of # 1 and 3 above, OpenVZ has so little overhead that it is almost unmeasurable... and your virtual machines run at the native speed of the physical host... because they are just processes running on the host... without some hyperviser layer sitting between the virtual machine and the hardware / I/O.

5) Not only is OpenVZ fast but a typical OpenVZ virtual machine has a dramatically smaller resource footprint than Xen or VMware... and you can easily run dozens of virtual machines on a physical host with 2-4 GB of RAM. With Xen or VMware, I doubt you'll see more than 8 virtual machines (if that many) per physical machine.

6) While OpenVZ might be new to you, it has been out for about a year and half... with SWsoft's Virtuozzo product (from which OpenVZ is a part) having been out for about six years now... so it is a very stable, mature, and secure product that is very active and heavily developed.

7) There are many "OS Templates" which are basically install media for various Linux distributions... so you can easily install Debian, CentOS, Fedora, Gentoo, etc... into your virtual machine.

I joked late in the day that we should all go to the VMware and Xen booths and ask them how their product differs from OpenVZ.

Warren (keeper of the camera) didn't take any pictures today. We were all in the booth the vast majority of the time and didn't get much of a chance to wonder around. Tomorrow and Thursday we have less people manning the booth and more free time so expect more pictures and some non-OpenVZ related info. Kostya did take some group pictures so maybe I can get a copy of them tomorrow and post them too.